Robert’s Ramblings

Robert Alonso’s Thoughts on Technology and More…

Having lost Norton Ghost’s backup functionality when I upgraded to Windows 7, I began looking for an alternative that would keep my machine safe in case of a catastrophe. I have years worth of documents on my machine that I do not want to lose to a virus or hard drive crash. I looked at third party software and open source options and found that nothing is ready for Windows 7 yet.

Since Windows 7 is not being sold on retail shelves yet, one could argue that I was being a bit unreasonable in my search. However, you would think that someone had developed software for Windows 7 backups in advance of the release of the operating system. It turns out that someone did–Microsoft.

Windows 7 comes with an integrated backup program that will create images of your hard drive and will also backup files incrementally. I decided to give it a try. The following screen shots and text show how to set up the backup software.

Type “backup” in the search box that comes up when you click on the Windows Start menu. You will see a program called, “Backup and Restore.” Start it. Once you do, you will see the following image.

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Click on “Set up backup.” A dialog box like the one below will be displayed as the software scans for backup destinations.

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It will then present you with the following screen. (The destinations will be different for your machine.)

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I selected my “D:” drive and was told that it did not have enough space for a system image. I decided to make space on it by moving some files to my “G:” drive using Windows Explorer. I then clicked on “Refresh” and was presented with the new totals for free space on each destination. I picked the “D:” drive again and was able to proceed. The next image shows what you will see.

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Unless you are really picky about what is backed up, pick the “Let Windows choose” option. It will backup your files and create a system image in case you have a major problem with your computer. The next screen shows you what will be included and the schedule that will be used for the backups. I do not work in the office on Sundays, so I will change the default schedule to a day that I am in the office and have a lighter workload. That is Friday starting at 3:00 PM for me.

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Changing the schedule is accomplished by clicking on “Change schedule.” The screen that is displayed will look like the following one. Note that I have already changed the schedule to Fridays at 3:00 PM using the drop down menus. I then clicked “OK” to save my schedule.

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Once the schedule change was completed and saved, the previous screen is redisplayed. I then clicked on the button that reads “Save settings and run backup” and was presented with the following screen showing the backup in progress.

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That is it! I now have a working backup that is scheduled to run weekly on Fridays. I also created a system repair disc by clicking on that option in the upper left hand side of the screen above. I even took the risk of doing so while the backup was running. Surprisingly, it worked just fine.

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I hope I never need to use it, but if I do I will be ready. If you install Windows 7, I recommend that the first thing you do is run through these steps and create a backup schedule and system repair disc for your computer.

Robert Alonso
Alonso Consulting

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